- Octaciano (Chano) Benegas GaleasOctaciano (Chano) was 22 years old when he became a GOJoven fellow. He was a very dedicated and creative young leader from the town of Tocoa on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Chano’s educational background included Business Administration and Management and Social Development. He actively participa...
GOJoven Joins the Third Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
By Katherine Sham and Susanna Moore, GOJoven International
Current GOJoven Fellows, staff, volunteers, and active alumni from GOJoven Guatemala, GOJoven Mexico, and GOJoven Honduras attended the Third Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development (CPD) in Latin America and the Caribbean held from August 7-9, 2018 in Lima, Peru. GOJoven was proud to be represented by:
- Guatemala: Ana Lourdes Tojin (2005 GOJoven Alumni Fellow and Executive Director of GOJoven Guatemala also representing La Sombrilla Centroamericana Network, in which GOJoven Guatemala is an active member); Alessandro Roldan Lanfray (2018 GOJoven Guatemala Fellow); Escarlet Membreño (2015-2016 GOJoven Guatemala Alumni Fellow also representing Guatemala’s Grupo Impulsor Cairo+20 Network, in which GOJoven Guatemala is an active member); and Juan Pablo Escalante (2011 GOJoven Alumni Fellow representing Paz Joven)
- Mexico: Luis Enrique Tuz (youth health promoter volunteer at GOJoven Mexico)
- Honduras: Berenice Vasquez (youth volunteer at GOJoven Honduras)
This high-level regional conference was organized by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Conference attendees included all ECLAC member states, United Nations representatives, and civil society members from across the region. The purpose of this meeting was to review the first regional draft report on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population Development, which was adopted at the First Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2013.
The Montevideo Consensus was a landmark achievement for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocates in the region and worldwide, as it is the only signed intergovernmental agreement in the region concerning issues of population and development and international migration that encompasses inclusive language on SRHR. It is also takes a more progressive position embracing and upholding SRHR commitments than any previous iterations of agreements stemming from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
During the Second Session of the Regional CPD, held in Mexico City in 2015, member states and civil society proposed and adopted the Operational Guide for Implementation and Follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. This year’s Third Session focused on reviewing national progress reports tracking implementation. The results of the country progress reports showed clear efforts to improve quality of life for girls, boys, adolescents, and young people. However, challenges still remain with regards to young people’s access to education and work, as well as prevention of adolescent pregnancy, with significant disparities between and within countries. In addition, the session’s agenda included consideration of a proposal for a virtual platform to contribute to regional follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus, which would be housed by the ECLAC Secretariat and UNFPA LAC.
Civil society organizations across the region are actively engaged with the follow-up on the Montevideo Consensus, holding their governments accountable to accelerate progress toward their commitments. Mira que te Miro is one example of this, as a social monitoring initiative of the SRHR commitments in the Montevideo Consensus. Besides providing a region-wide CPD monitoring and outcome report, their interactive website allows users to compare implementation progress in key areas and topics by country, spanning 23 countries in the region. Alongside other leading SRHR and youth organizations, our very own GOJoven Honduras and GOBelize Alumni associations contributed to their respective country reports, which are available on the website (Read the Honduras report here and the Belize report here).
Leading up to the high-level CPD meeting, civil society held several preparatory events in Lima. Two such events in which GOJoven leaders participated were the Civil Society Forum and the Youth Forum. Ana Lourdes Tojin and Alessandro Roldan, both from GOJoven Guatemala, joined civil society members at these events to plan for their proposed interventions leading up to the CPD meeting with government officials. In addition to these forums, there was also a regional youth leadership camp, ¡Juventudes Ya!, hosted by UNFPA in partnership with CAMY Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Plan International which brought together 50 youth ages 15-25 from across the region. Three GOJoven representatives attended: Alessandro Lanfray, Luis Tuz, and Berenice Vasquez. During this camp, they shared their experiences, strengthened their advocacy skills, and built alliances with other human rights networks. Read more about the experience of GOJoven Guatemala Fellow Alessandro Roldan in his personal blog post here!
Overall, GOJoven representatives felt empowered in representing civil society from their respective countries by attending this conference. In meeting and sharing with other attendees and leaders, they found strength in their roles as change agents in their communities.
Their experiences in Lima were valuable not only to establish these alliances with like-minded organizations, but also as opportunities to serve as country advocates holding decision-makers accountable to their commitments to adolescents and young people, particularly access to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention, as agreed upon in the Montevideo Consensus. Attending this type of conference, in an international space, affords them greater visibility in their interventions as well as stronger networks across countries that are facing similar SRHR challenges. Many of the GOJoven representatives are conducting follow-up activities and plans to disseminate their learnings and bring back key messages to continue advocating locally and nationally for progress on the ground.
Marlon was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow at the age of 19. He began in leadership training processes when he was just 14 years old, and has been acquiring methods of learning, training and teamwork and to share with, advise, and motivate his peers – other young leaders. He has grown a lot personally in these five years and overcome barriers in the difficult work of promoting leadership and youth rights. Marlon feels very grateful and impacted by the training experiences he has had, in particular the opportunity to receive the GOJoven Guatemala Scholarship. He is currently studying to become a Nursing Technician in Guatemala City and feels very committed to the empowerment of other young people and adolescents in particular in the area of health and well-being, in order to contribute to a better future for the next generations of Guatemalan youth.
Mishel is originally from Chimaltenago and was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow when she was 21 years old. She is proficiently trained as a computer operator. Mishel is interested in strengthening her leadership in sexual health and reproductive health in order to make them known as rights of adolescents and young people in her community. Mishel has participated in school workshops on education in contraceptive methods and STI prevention, with a focus on prevention.
Blanca is 22 years old and is part of the Mayan Kaqchikel ethnic group from the municipality of Patzún, Chimaltenango. She is a a Clinical Psychology student and has attended various sexual health and rights events, including the advocacy camp for Policy and Reproductive Rights and Sexual Rights and the Peaceful Unions Forum. She is interested in being a promoter of human rights and integral education in sexuality in order to improve the condition of the lives of young adolescents in Guatemala. Blanca has given talks in rural areas to groups of young people on issues of sexual rights, stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, and teen pregnancy prevention. Although she has only recently been trained in the area of youth sexual and reproductive rights, she actively shares this information among informal groups of women.
Jennifer is 18 years old and is originally from Villa Canales. She lives in the Palin municipality of Escuintla, Guatemalteca. Jennifer has worked with groups of young people and children on issues of human rights, citizenship and sexual rights, which has informed her interest in strengthening her knowledge of reproductive rights and being a spokesperson for the guarantee and full exercise of sexual health and rights of children and adolescents in Palín, Escuintla.
Stefany is originally from the community Chuscaj in the municipality of Chiantla, Huehuetenango. She was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow when she was 19 years old. She is an extroverted, dynamic woman and youth leader in her community, thanks to her participation in the organization, New Earth. Stefany is committed to disseminating the information she has learned through her community and work experiences, since her goal is to guide, support and motivate groups of young people outside of school who lack accessibility to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues. She has started working as a health promoter of these topics by supporting the facilitation of workshops in the different communities in Chiantla. She is in her first year of studying for her degree in Social Work at San Carlos University, which motivates her everyday to keep up her knowledge up to date in order to better support the vulnerable and excluded population in her community.
Kevin is originally from Villa Nueva, Guatemala and is 21 years old. As a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow, he helps to facilitate different training processes. He has experience in human rights issues, conflict resolution and leadership. At age 12, he began getting involved with issues of leadership, community advocacy, conflict resolution and training in community arts. He is a facilitator and community advocate trained from LIJOCA methodologies (Young Leadership Changing the Game). Currently, he working to improve education through adoption of new teaching and learning tools.
Kevin is originally from Guatemala City and was born and raised in a so-called red zone where violence ends the lives of so many children, adolescents and young people merely seeking an opportunity to develop as human beings. Kevin is a leader and defender of human rights, as well as a young revolutionary with knowledge of history and a social conscience. He was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow at the age of 18. He is currently studying the 4th year of his Bachelor’s degree and has knowledge of SSR, EIS, and advocacy. He has facilitated training processes for other young people by involving or incorporating popular education techniques such as roleplaying and games as methods of learning. His participation began in 2012 with an NGO that addressed the aforementioned issues, and from there he joined different civil society organizations as a volunteer. He is currently involved in SODEJU FUNDAJU as a facilitator of training processes and provides assistance to other community-based organizations.
Heidy was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow when she was 22 years old. She is a young woman with knowledge in Sexual and Reproductive Health, and has experience as a facilitator, trainer, and SSR educator, and organizational leader. She has also been artist from young, as well as a community leader and entrepreneur of various projects. Her strengths as a facilitator in holding workshops are in learning from her participants and sharing.
Herber is originally from the municipality of Patzún, Chimaltenango and was selected as a GOJoven Guatemala Fellow when he was 21 years old. He is studying Agricultural Engineering, and along the way has been able to observe the weaknesses that many Guatemalan communities experience in understanding Sexual and Reproductive Health. He has been trained since young in issues related to education, citizen security, and promotion of sexual and reproductive rights.